J is an avid watcher of soap operas. Things like Corrie, and Emmerdale.
Emmerdale has, this week, had me in tears. (Bear with me if you aren't a soaps watcher.)
One of the female actresses is pregnant and has to go on maternity leave, therefore her character needs writing out for a little while. Fine. The premise is that she has got this amazing job in the Arab Emirates somewhere and off she is going. Her husband in the soap doesn't want to go. It's only 6 months, he'll wait here. However.
There is a child.
A smallish one, about 3 or 4 years old. Female.
Mother wants to take her. Father doesn't want her to go.
Emotionally, this week they went to the airport and the dad dropped the child and the mother off. And I cried. I bawled.
There is no way of ever explaining what the drive was like when Rich took his wife and child to the airport to go to the States. She was going, taking their three year old. She was determined. He asked, begged and pleaded. Originally the plan was for the child to stay here until her mother was settled. That got changed. I remember being there with them, with the AC and watch BG on her reins, waiting to go through. And then we got in the car, and we came back. Rich drove in silence all the way, his heart breaking. He held himself together long enough to get us back to our house, and then he drove to his now lonely and empty house. I didn't see him for hours. We spent a while where he'd just turn up, not talk, go again. He lived for the infrequent phonecalls. Some nights he stayed on the sofa. Some nights he stayed in the spare room. Some nights I'd know he'd gone when I heard the door click at 3 am. Some nights we stayed up talking all night, and then he went to work and I looked after a toddler.
And then, one day, it was all too much, and I knew what I had to do, and I did it. Whether he hated me or not, it had to be done, and I went to the Padre and I told him everything about the situation, and by the end of the day he was under watch at a very nice place for those who need time and sanctuary to heal a nervous breakdown.
What happened when he came home is another story.
But this week, art has been like real life. The pain on Jimmy's face reminded me of Rich, crying in my arms for his little girl. The difference is that Jimmy's wife came back, left him the child, and went, knowing the child had a better life with him. Rich's wife didn't do that. His little girl was gone.
And as it turned out, he never saw her again,